Provisional Legislative Council
Panel on Environmental Affairs
PROGRESS REPORT ON ANIMAL CARCASS CREMATOR
Members of the Panels on Environmental Affairs and Health Services were briefed on the development of a treatment facility for animal carcasses on 24 October 1997. As requested by Members, the Administration presented a waste management strategy paper on 19 December 1997 which included the Administration's strategy on the management of animal carcasses.
2.This report advises Members of the progress concerning the provision of a disposal facility for animal carcasses.
PROGRESS IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF AN ANIMAL CREMATOR
3.Members will recall that the Administration, after exploring various disposal options to replace the proposed Centralised Incineration Facility, proposed to utilize the Chemical Waste Treatment Centre for treating clinical waste and to build a stand-alone animal cremator in Tuen Mun Area 38 for treating animal carcasses. However, some Members expressed strong reservations about building an animal cremator in the Tuen Mun site. In response, the Administration agreed to examine whether there were any viable alternatives.
4.At present, animal carcasses are largely disposed of at the landfills. Whilst not ideal, the landfilling of animal carcasses under close supervision is considered as a tolerable arrangement. However, it is the view of the Administration that from an environmental, hygienic and aesthetic standpoint, landfilling is not a satisfactory method for the disposal of animal carcasses. Apart from any other criteria, disposing of carcasses at landfills goes against our policy of reducing the amount of waste being sent to the landfills. In practice, however, the volumes involved are relatively insignificant. Nonetheless, the Administration remains of the view that cremation of animal carcasses is the most preferred disposal method.
5.In October 1997, the Administration initiated another search for alternative sites(s) in North District for the proposed animal cremator. North District was selected because of its proximity to the main source in future of animal carcasses - the Sheung Shui Slaughter House. This would minimise both adverse environmental impacts due to transportation, and the costs of transport. Although North District is less favourable than Tuen Mun Area 38 from the air dispersion point of view, the impacts due to flue gas emission can probably be brought under proper control by the installation of an air scrubbing system. The Administration has been able to identify several sites within the district that appear to be suitable in terms of size and access. Unfortunately, our preliminary assessment reveals that none of these sites are readily available and site preparation works such as site investigation, site formation, slope stabilisation, and provision of services will have to be undertaken before construction of the proposed animal cremator can start. The financial implications and the additional time required to complete the site preparatory works are crucial to the site selection process.
THE WAY FORWARD
6.We will further study these sites and conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment at the most promising location. It should be noted that we will need more time to examine these sites in detail before we can advise whether the Tuen Mun option or a North District option is preferable. It is inevitable that this will delay the implementation date.
7.Members may recall that consultants are currently carrying out a feasibility study on the introduction of waste-to-energy incineration facilities (WEIF). The report is expected in about one year's time and we anticipate that there will be extensive public interest on the findings of this study. If the feasibility of WEIF is confirmed, we could examine the possibility of co-incineration or co-siting an animal cremator with a WEIF. There will, however, still be a considerable time gap between now and the commissioning of the WEIF. Whilst the Administration remains of the view that the early provision of a stand-alone animal cremator is highly desirable, we will consider the timing, costs, and site constraints of the various options mentioned above.
Planning, Environment and Lands Bureau